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Demos: Mentoring schemes benefit mentors as well as mentees
An evaluation by the think-tank Demos finds that mentoring programmes can offer direct, positive outcomes – including on aspirations, a sense of agency, and soft skills – for both mentors and mentees.
It finds that two-thirds of mentors surveyed believed that their experience had given them extra professional and ‘soft’ skills. When those who felt it was ‘too early to say’ were discounted, this figure grew to 90 per cent.
Many felt that being a mentor gave them a better understanding of young people today (74 per cent); a feeling that they were giving something back (80 per cent); and improved communication skills (31 per cent).
Demos conducted research with secondary school students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds to assess the value of Mosiac mentoring programmes – particularly regarding their impact on aspirations.
The research finds that those on the Mosaic mentoring programme felt more confident of getting into university, as there was a 17 per cent increase in their belief that a university application would be successful. Being on the mentoring programme was also accompanied by an 11 per cent increase in the likelihood of mentees wanting to go to university.
Those on the programme in receipt of free school meals also had a lack of confidence and low aspirations. After mentoring, whether a young person was in receipt of free school meals was no longer a significant indicator of their confidence about finding a job.
Jamie Bartlett, author of the report, said:
“This is one of the first systematic efforts to evaluate the effects of a mentoring programme on ‘soft skills’ – the aspirations, attitudes and personality traits – of young people that take part. These are an essential aspect of success and well-being in modern Britain and mentoring work can make a genuine impact in encouraging these skills to be developed. These can be especially important for black and ethnic minority groups who often find it difficult to turn vague aspirations into reality.”
“Rarely is the real impact these schemes can have on mentors, as well as mentees, properly understood. Mentors, on the whole, feel better informed about and connected to young people – which we know can contribute to better community cohesion – and mentees are guided out of a self-confidence cul-de-sac. It’s a win-win situation.”
Jonathan Freeman, National Director of Mosaic said:
“It is hugely important to us to know that our mentoring programmes deliver real impact to the young people we serve in some of the most disadvantaged communities. It is a real boost to discover that the young people get tangible benefits from our work but also that the volunteers benefit so much as well.”
Notes to editors
Demos conducted this longitudinal research over a 16 month period, between November 2009 and March 2011. Between December 2009 and December 2010 Demos received responses from 61 mentors. Questions covered topics including their views on the programme, the benefits of taking part, and the perceived effect of their mentoring on the mentees.
Mentees who participated were surveyed twice, once between November 2009 and March 2010, and again a year later. In the first survey Demos received 203 responses and in the second received 63.
In order to ensure rigour in the research, Demos compared the responses received from mentees, to responses elicited from a ‘control’ group of non-mentees. In the first survey Demos received 56 responses and in the second received 31.
The evaluation was carried out independently by Demos and funded by Mosaic.
Mosaic inspires young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential. Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2007, Mosaic’s mission is to create opportunities for young people of all backgrounds growing up in our most deprived communities, championed by Muslims and harnessing the power of positive thinking. Mosaic links young people with inspirational role models through mentoring programmes to boost their confidence, self-efficacy and long-term employability. In doing so, Mosaic also aims to increase opportunities for understanding between people of different backgrounds.
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